‘Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’ Season 10, Episode 1: Recap And Ending: Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

After three long months, “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” is back with its new season. Announced in September 2020 by HBO, the show makes its return with its tenth season, which premieres on February 19, 2023. We all love John Oliver’s witty, humorous, yet charming personality. The man is entertaining, and the show is loved by the audience. The first episode of season 10 brings a lot to the plate – taking shots on Fox News, a hazardous chemical containing train derailment, psychedelic-assisted therapy, and many more. If you’re a fan of the show, then here’s a quick recap for you.

Spoilers Ahead


Trouble For Fox News

The show starts with Oliver taking a few shots at Fox News. He opens up the conversation about Fox News by saying it neither delivers news nor foxes in a hilarious way. It has been quite a busy week for Fox News, as the glimpse of their internal conversation suggests they are not even sure about what they are selling to the masses. Privately, Fox News employees mocked Trump’s lies during his campaign, calling them “really crazy stuff,” “ludicrous,” and “totally off the rails,” even as the same hosts went on air arguing completely otherwise.

Tucker Carlson made the remark that it is hurting the company and the stock price is going down. Oliver further mocks Fox News by saying the firing offenses at Fox News are making the stock price go down and that the company has been a sexual monster for decades, but only if people outside the company find out about it in a very quirky manner. Oliver then quickly promotes the shows on HBO and praises the standards of the company.


Hazardous Chemical Containing Train Derailment

Oliver shifts his focus from Fox News to the recent news about the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. The train was carrying hazardous chemicals, and the derailment caused certain problems for the locals. The hazardous chemicals being released by accident are causing people problems like burning eyes, nausea, and headaches. The locals also reported dead animals, and the officials confirmed that 3500 fish were killed by the chemicals. Indeed, the train derailment raised health concerns.


Jim Cramer And His Brioni Suits

The “And Now” short segment was about CNBC host Jim Cramer and his obsession with his Brioni suits. Oliver mocks Cramer by showing a compilation of footage that shows how obsessed Cramer is with his Brioni suits.


Drugs And Psychedelics

The main topic of season 10, episode 1 of “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” was about psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted therapy. Oliver talks about drugs by showing a video of a reporter going insane while standing in front of a burning pile of drugs. Then he focuses on psychedelics, a category that includes drugs like psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA. Oliver mentions a lot of people who use psychedelics, some for spirituality, some for healing, and some for fun, like ASAP Rocky. Interestingly, he shows a hilarious clip of ASAP Rocky discussing his experience of using LSD for the first time. Rocky mentions that he took LSD while having sex, and then he saw a rainbow coming out of his penis. Oliver, as usual, mocks Rocky by saying that Rocky will be featuring Skrittles’ next commercial with the tagline “Skrittles tastes the d*ck rainbow.”


Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

Psychedelics being used for healing and therapy is very interesting. Oliver sheds light on the topic by showing footage of people who benefitted from psychedelic-assisted therapy and mentions that it helped them overcome serious concerns like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). A recent clinical trial of MDMA-assisted therapy found that, for those suffering from PTSD, just two months after treatment, 67 percent had benefited and did not further qualify for the diagnosis of PTSD. Oliver then talks about the history, potential, and potential pitfalls might be in psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Oliver discusses the history of psychedelics, mentioning that LSD was first synthesized in a Swiss lab in 1938 and that a banker at JP Morgan named R. Gordon Wassen popularized magic mushrooms after hearing about an indigenous Mexican woman named Sabina, who used them in healing ceremonies and tracking her down in 1955. Oliver then shows footage from the Netflix documentary “How to Change Your Mind” (2022) to further discuss the particular topic. Oliver then showcases a news story from Pennsylvania, where the city commissioner confessed that half a dozen students went completely blind after taking LSD and staring at the sun for a long time. But the truth is that this news was completely a hoax, and the commissioner told the masses that he created the hysteria because he was concerned about kids using drugs.

Now, Psilocybin and LSD are the most restrictive legal category drugs, but we all know people still manage to get them and use them at parties and for having fun. Oliver then talks about the adverse effects of taking the drugs as well, but now that the studies have shown the use of psychedelics in therapy can actually help people recover from serious concerns like PTSD, the further possibilities of using psychedelics in the domain of therapy and healing would be very interesting. Oliver mentions that over the next year, it is widely anticipated that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) would approve MDMA for clinical use, with psilocybin expected to follow a few years later and maybe even LSD one day.

The use of psychedelic-assisted therapy would only be possible in a controlled setup, and it would have its own risks; for instance, if a person is suffering from schizophrenia, the therapy is not advisable. In the closing minutes of the show, Oliver mentions that experts project the cost of psychedelic-assisted therapy can go up to $15,000 and also mentions the shortage of mental health professionals, which could lead to a mess. The concerns about how the therapy will be regulated are evident, but the overall concept of psychedelic-assisted therapy is fascinating.


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